How to Set Entrepreneurial Goals in 2015 (and Keep Them!)
This is the traditional time of year to set goals for every small business. It is also the time of year to break them. It should be no surprise that January is the busiest month for health clubs to sign up new members. February is then when so many cancel their memberships. This happens because people try to accomplish too much the first week at the health club. Over the next month, their ambition burns them out until they just give up and quit.
Why do so many owners fail to accomplish their entrepreneurial goals? How can you ensure you achieve yours and move your business forward in 2015? Here is where to start:
- Set “realistic” goals. There is nothing wrong with setting “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” for the business (I call them the “Big Bets”). This is what entrepreneurship is based on, but the next step on how it will be achieved never gets analyzed. For example, if a company wants to increase its sales from $1M to $2M in 2015, it needs to be broken down into a series of small goals. How many calls and proposals need to be sent in January to begin to achieve the goal for that month? A simple “back of the napkin” analysis should be done before setting any annual goal.
- Too many goals. Every entrepreneur wants to accomplish a lot in the New Year. I have seen a series of ten goals posted by the CEO that drove her team crazy. This is too many for any company to focus on, let alone achieve. The maximum goals should be two or three with a series of strategies inside each to get there.
- Get support of the team. Achieving a goal will not be successful if the team does not believe in it. A leader should broadly set what they want to accomplish in the New Year, but then the team should collaborate on exactly what those three goals should be and the strategies behind each one.
- Be clear about the path for achievement. Many goals are vague proclamations or bold initiatives of what the business leader wants to achieve. Sometimes they are even what they have read as a trend on the Internet. Unfortunately, they usually are not followed by a roadmap. Achieving goals is really done in a series of patient iterative steps which gradually have increasing difficulty. Celebrate the achievement of these interim goals with the entire team.
- Let go of past failures (and successes). Small business owners are constantly searching to learn from their failures. Sometimes things can be learned, but many times failure just stinks. Instead, take a small step and evaluate the results as success or failure. Learn what you can, then let go and move on to take another small action. This slow zig-zag method is the surest way to achieve long term success rather than a series of big and bold actions.
- Don’t give up on the goal. The business is focused on the goals for the company in January and February. Unfortunately, as the year progresses, other things get in the way and they lose importance. Instead, each quarter determine how the goal might evolve and post them internally. Have each employee post in their work area two ways they will support these goals with their performance. It takes a tremendous amount of mental toughness to keep the same series of goals in the spotlight for an entire year. Accountability systems between leaders, managers, and employees need to be put in place.
- Upgrade skills. Most small business owners never realize that it takes increased staff training to hit certain goals. Unfortunately, they see this as an expense, rather than an investment. For each goal that is set, ask what skills the team needs to improve to actually achieve it. Then, map out when the training will happen and how long it will take for that team member to implement what they have learned.
What are your goals for 2015 and how will you achieve them?
My goal for 2015 is to help more small business owners by building my online training business through a series of 25 videos. Check it out at www.barrymoltz.com/unstuck.
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